Author: Max J. Kobbert

Publisher: Ravensburger 2003

Awards: none



With the release of the last movie in December 2003, it seems that the last product in RAVENSBURGER's series of Lord of the Rings games is their newest product in the well-known Labyrinth-series by Max J. Kobbert.

The Lord of the Rings Labyrinth game takes 2 to 4 players into a labyrinth of corridors which is made up from many square-shaped tiles, and the players will try to change the alignement of this labyrinth by removing putting an excess tile into one of the rows of the gameboard and thus moving the whole row of tiles (and - in effect - creating a new excess tile from the last tile in the row).

The aim of the game is the collection of points. At the beginning of the game, when the labyrinth itself has been set up in a random fashion and the figures of the players have taken up their starting positions, 24 adventure tiles (with asending value-numbers) will be distributed all over the labyrinth. These adventure tiles are distributed randomly as well, but they are revealed after they were distributed. Finally, a deck of 24 playing cards (each card corresponding to one adventure tile) is shuffled and evenly distributed among the players. In addition, each player receives one "wand".

During his turn, a player is obliged to change the labyrinth by pushing the excess tile into one of the rows of the labyrinth. After he has done so, he may decide whether he wants to move his playing piece and possibly pick up an adventure tile. A player may move his playing piece as far as he desires - provided that there is an unbroken corridor which connects his starting place to the place where he finishes. If the player is able to enter the tile which contains the adventure tile with the lowest value still represented on the gameboard, then he is allowed to stop there and take this tile. If this happens, the player who has the corresponding playing card on his hand must reveal this card. If it is the same player as the one who has taken the adventure tile, then that player received 10 bonus points. If is is a different player, then nothing will happen.

Of special importance are the "wands" which are held by each player. If a player discards his "wand", then he will be able to take another turn for free. As said, each player posesses one "wand" at the beginning of the game, but they will receive two additional "wands" at different times during the game.

Once the last adventure tile has been taken, each player sums up the values of his collected adventure tiles and possible bonus markers, and then the player with the higher score will ave won the game.

However, the game does not stop with these traditional Labyrinth-rules. Instead, it also offers a small set of variant rules for a special Lord of the Rings Labyrinth game. In this game, the "wands" and the bonus markers are not used, and the playing cards are distributed face down to the players instead of being revealed to them.

The active player now looks at the playing card on top of his pile of cards, and this card shows the adventure tile which he may collect - provided he is able to reach that tile during his turn. If he cannot reach it, then the next may player to try to reach the adventure tile shown on the card on top of his own pile of playing cards. The game continues in this way until a player has collected all his adventure tiles and has returned to his starting place.

I would say that the game certainly can be recommended to fans of the Lord of the Rings and fans of the series of Labyrinth-games alike. The game offers a nicely designed gameboard together with good-looking playing-cards showing scenes and characters from the movies. The rules for both playing variants differ enough from each other to offer some variation when playing, and this in turn guarantees a good replay value. To my mind, this game is the strongest Lord of the Rings game which was released by RAVENSBURGER.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany